By Hayden Wright
Early this week, Judas Priest announced that longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton would bow out of the band’s upcoming Firepower tour due to his advancing Parkinson’s disease.
Frontman Rob Halford told The Quietus that the band’s more challenging material became too complicated for Glenn to perform at his best.
“We have to emphasize this as well — he can still play the guitar, but when it comes to some of the more challenging songs that Priest has written over the years and songs that, for the most part, have to be included in the set, that’s when it’s just becoming a little bit difficult for him,” Halford said.
Producer Andy Sneap will fill in for Tipton on the road. But don’t count Tipton out of the Firepower tour altogether. The guitarist will make special appearances at various stops to play songs he’s comfortable with, Halford said.
“I can’t wait for those moments when he’s gonna show up unexpectedly anywhere around the world on the Firepower tour and come and jam out ‘Living After Midnight’, ‘Breaking The Law’, those kinds of songs,” the vocalist said. “It’s going to be a really special moment. It could be the first show, it could be the last show — we don’t know. But the joy is that Glenn is still playing and he’s still with us, and he’s as excited as we are to celebrate the release of Firepower.”
Nevertheless, Halford admits Tipton’s absence from the band’s main lineup has been difficult to process. The guitarist’s decision to skip the tour came less than a week ago.
“We’re still kind of digesting all of this,” he commented, revealing that “Glenn made the decision about not being able to fully commit to the tour only last Thursday [Feb. 8]. So we’re still very much processing all of the possibilities.”
Watch Halford discuss Tipton and Judas Priest’s future here.